Taylor Swift, The Band Perry and Blake Shelton were among the big winners at the 2011 CMT Music Awards. Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber won his first country music award for his project with Rascal Flatts, and other winners included Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and the pairing of the Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett.
Photo Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Kid Rock hosted Wednesday night's (June 8) show live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Swift was onstage in Wisconsin when she learned she'd won the night's top honor -- the video of the year award -- for "Mine."
"I just want to say thank you and hi to everybody back at the CMT Music Awards," she said. "I wish I could be there, but I'm hanging out with 15,000 of my closest friends in Milwaukee. I want to thank so many people -- all the little kids who are in the video and their families for bringing them to Maine and being in the video. [Video director] Roman White, [actor] Toby Hemingway. And the fans that voted. I don't know what I did to deserve you guys, but you've made so many amazing things happen to me in my life."
Swift and Shania Twain opened the awards show in a pre-recorded video parody of Thelma & Louise with a guest cast that included Glee's Chord Overstreet, Kid Rock, Donald Trump, Kenny Rogers and Ron White.
Bieber and Rascal Flatts shared the collaborative video award for "That Should Be Me."
"First of all, I just want to say how honored I am to be here ... with Rascal Flatts," Bieber said. "How amazing are Rascal Flatts, everybody? I want to thank my mom. I want to thank my family. And I want to thank Rascal Flatts for even jumping on the song with me."
Rascal Flatts bassist Jay DeMarcus said, "Thank you to Justin Bieber for bringing us such a great song. ... It was an honor to be in this video with you. What a talented guy. We appreciate it so much."
Alluding to a shorter hairstyle Bieber unveiled in the video, lead vocalist Gary LeVox joked, "Justin, thank you for letting us be part of the haircut that shocked the world."
Guitarist Joe Don Rooney chimed in, "We've got Bieber fever!"
The Band Perry won the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video trophy for "If I Die Young" and the Nationwide Insurance On Your Side Award as country music's best new live act.
"Thanks for voting for this award and wrapping your arms around us and this song," Neil Perry told the crowd. "We love y'all. Y'all have made our lives extraordinary."
Shelton was in Los Angeles to tape episodes of the NBC talent competition, The Voice, when he won the male video prize for "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" and the best web video award for "Kiss My Country Ass."
"I'm honored that you fans gathered together and voted me male video artist of the year," he said via satellite, adding, "My gosh, I can't believe Shania Twain gave me an award."
Duo video honors went to Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue."
"This is the most fun awards show ever, and we love that the fans get to vote," Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles said. "We have the best fans in the world, and this definitely shows it."
Lady Antebellum's emotional "Hello World" was named group video of the year.
"We have the greatest, greatest fans in the world," group member Hillary Scott said. "Country music fans are the best. We want to thank Roman White, the director of this video."
"We said we wanted to make a Rascal Flatts video," Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley noted. "We want to make people cry, just like every Rascal Flatts video has made me cry."
The Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett won the CMT performance of the year video, a category dedicated to live performances that have aired exclusively on CMT. They were honored for a version of "Margaritaville" that aired on an episode of CMT Crossroads.
"Thanks to all our fans," Brown said. "Thanks so much to Jimmy Buffett and all the folks and all the Parrotheads at Margaritaville."
Live television creates excitement while adding the potential for the unexpected, such as a segment when someone from the audience sent a pair of panties flying onstage at Kid Rock. And Sheryl Crow acknowledged she experienced a slight wardrobe malfunction after singing "Collide" with him.
"OK, I'm just gonna address the elephant in the room because people all over America are tweeting that I was wearing a really short skirt when I sang with Kid Rock -- and that when I got up off the stool, I showed my underwear," Crow said while joining Sara Evans onstage to introduce one of the performers.
"Well, at least you were wearing underwear," Evans noted.
"I was wearing underwear," Crow said. "Because I am good, clean family entertainment."
Twain was walking to the stage to announce the male video winner when she slipped and fell in the aisle. She recovered quickly and gracefully made her way to the stage to fulfill her duties like a pro.
After the Swift-Twain video segment opened the show, Kid Rock began the music with a short version of "Bawitdaba" before Wynonna stopped him. They then performed "Till My Dying Day," a hardcore country song he wrote that may be included on her upcoming album.
Hip-hop star Ludacris joined Jason Aldean as the two rapped during Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem." Other cross-genre performances included The Band Perry singing Rihanna's signature line in Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie" before moving into their own "You Lie." Lady Antebellum delivered their new single, "Just a Kiss," and followed it up with Prince's "Kiss."
Other performances were provided by Toby Keith and the Incognito Banditos, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, the Zac Brown Band, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Big & Rich (with Gretchen Wilson.)
Sugarland offered one of the most inspiring performances of the night when they were joined onstage by Tiffani and Lexi Gilbert, two young sisters from Joplin, Mo., whose home was destroyed during a recent tornado. With Nettles handing them a white flag with the word "Love" written on it, they waved it and a smaller flag while the entire audience waved similar flags in unison during the anthemic song that now serves to support those affected by similar tragedies.
Sugarland recently released "Stand Up" on iTunes with download proceeds going to the American Red Cross. Viewers can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts.
Check out full coverage of the 2011 CMT Music Awards.